‘Don Quichotte’ reaches out to dreamers

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At a time when opposing philosophies are ridiculed, the Lyric Opera of Chicago steps in with a reminder there must be room in the world for idealists and dreamers.

Jules Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte,’ based on Cervante’s ‘Don Quichotte’ (Don Quixote) and influenced by Jacques Le Lorrain’s play, ‘Le chevalier de la longue figure,’ is both love story and tale of a knight-errant who seeks chivalrous adventures to right the world’s wrongs.

'Don Quichotte' at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg photo
‘Don Quichotte’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg photo

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Marriott young audience ‘Nutcracker’ good for all ages

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A charming and fun adaptation of The Nutcracker’ is at Marriott Theatre now through Dec. 20, 2016. As part of Marriott’s Theatre for Young Audiences series, the Mouse King is comic rather than scary but with deft direction and choreography by Matt Raftery, the show will delight all ages.

Cast of 'The Nutcracker' Amy Boyle Photography
Cast of ‘The Nutcracker’
Amy Boyle Photography

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‘King Charles III’ is an amazing theatrical experience

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In ‘King Charles III,’ a comic-tragic “future history” play, author Mike Bartlett brilliantly tackles Britain’s succession to the throne when 90-year-old Elizabeth II dies. His “what if” takes place within the perfect background of Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, a Globe and Swan Theatre-like setting.

Robert Bathurst at Parliament Photo by Liz Lauren
Robert Bathurst as Charles at Parliament
Photo by Liz Lauren

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Holiday fun times five

The signs of the season are there. Macy’s windows have come alive with moving characters, holiday market tents are going up in Daley Plaza, a giant evergreen is hoisted in Millennium Park and people are wondering if we should pray for cold to have good ice in the park or warm weather for good shopping.

The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography
The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography

No matter what the weather holds, here are a few of the jolly, holly ways to celebrate the season in the Chicago area.

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We’re “Crazy” about new Gershwin musical

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“Crazy For You” is a musical rom-com warmly embraced by the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin.

Now running at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, the song-and-dance extravaganza is loosely based on the 1930s Gershwin musical “Girl Crazy. The original production starred Ginger Rogers and marked the stage debut of Ethel Merman.

"Cast of Crazy for You" at Drury Lane Theatre
“Cast of Crazy for You” at Drury Lane Theatre Photo by Brett Beiner

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“Annie” will have you smiling

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“Annie” at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre now through Nov. 13, 2016, is a pre-Thanksgiving family treat.

Cast of "Annie" now at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
Cast of “Annie” now at the Cadillac Palace Theatre

The current touring production feels so fresh that even if you have seen past “Annies” you will be glad to be back watching Miss Hannigan’s orphans prance across the stage and a pugnacious Annie change everyone’s outlook on life and business from Oliver Warbucks to FDR.

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‘Fun Home’ tries to understand family truths and appearances

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‘Fun Home’ is an unforgettable show that just came to Chicago after winning five Tony Awards in 2015. Unfortunately, it is only at the Oriental Theatre now through Nov. 13, 2016.

"Fun Home" at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison) Photo by Joan Marcus
“Fun Home” at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison). Photo by Joan Marcus

An intimate, questioning look back at a father and family life from a daughter’s view during youth, college years and in mid-40s, the show probably deserves an intimate space.Read More

High end art fills Festival Hall at Navy Pier

Art aficionados, collectors and anyone who has been to the annual SOFA art show know about the high quality works on display.

Collectors admire glass art pieces at Melbourne's Kirra Galleries Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Collectors admire glass art pieces at Melbourne’s Kirra Galleries Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Perhaps for everyone else the title, an acronym for Sculpture, Objects and functional Art and Design is misleading.

SOFA isn’t a crafts fair. Nearly 70 galleries, some as far as Melbourne, Australia, Kyoto, Japan and London, England, have brought their showpieces to Chicago’s Navy Pier for the event.

When asked during opening night why come so far, Melbourne’s Kirra Galleries Manager Suzanne Brett, said, “We come because this is the biggest collector’s fair in the year.”  Her gallery specializes in exquisite glass objects.

A couple of rows over are the gorgeous ceramics of the Sokyo Gallery from Kyoto. “This is the only one we do in the United States. It’s a good show for us,” said Yoshika Yajima.

At the Thursday night preview reception, the crowd appeared to be collectors and buyers who talked about how pieces would fit with what they had.

Gladwell & Patterson brought exceptional pieces from London Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Gladwell & Patterson brought exceptional pieces from London Photo b Jodie Jacobs

At London’s Gladwell & Patterson Gallery, Ella C. Elphick was adjusting a stunning mobile. “A lot of our customers are in Chicago,” she said explaining this was the gallery’s second year at the show.

Interested in buying or not, SOFA is a good show to see what is trending and what might be fun to have. Begun Nov. 3, the show continues  through Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.

SOFA is at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL. For tickets and other information visit SOFA and Navy Pier.

At Marriott, ‘Singing in the Rain’ has a glorious feeling

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While the Cubs spectacularly reigned Wednesday at the Indians’ Progressive Field, audiences were treated to a spectacular ‘Dancing in the Rain’ production at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

Mobile phones checked Cleveland during intermission while MGM’s 1953 hit musical that starred Gene Kelly was brought back to life in Lincolnshire.

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‘The Magic Play’ is about a lot more than illusion

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“This is just a card,” magician extraordinaire /actor Brett Schneider tells the audience. And so starts a little over two hours of Goodman Theatre’s fascinating The Magic Play.

Smaller than the Albert Theatre, the Owen’s space is perfect for appreciating Schneider’s magic. But playwright Andrew Hinderaker has put a lot more up Schneider’s sleeve than astonishing tricks.

Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of 'The Magic Play' by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren
Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of ‘The Magic Play’ by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren

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